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SoonerTimes > SoonerTimes > OU Sports > When did Art Briles create his fast-twitch offense?


When did Art Briles create his fast-twitch offense?
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47Straight
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 Posted: Thu Nov 7th, 2013 04:09 pm

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When did Art Briles create a fast-twitch offense that stretches the defense the entire width and length of the field? On Friday nights.

BECAUSE HE spent three years on Mike Leach's staff at Texas* Tech, Briles is often lumped in with other acolytes of the hyperpaced Air Raid scheme. But the offense Baylor runs is based on the one Briles developed in 16 years as a Texas* high school head coach. Briles, who took over in Waco in 2008 after five seasons at Houston, has built that system into a spread offense that goes wider than Urban Meyer or Chip Kelly ever dared. It all began on a chilly December night in 1984, when one team took the ball from Briles and never gave it back.

Briles is the flesh-and-blood incarnation of coach Eric Taylor from the TV version of Friday Night Lights. West Texas* twang that drips off every word? Check. Skin tanned and creased by years of running practices under the unforgiving Texas* sun? Check. After stints as a high school assistant in the tiny West Texas* burgs of Sundown and Sweetwater, Briles finally got his chance to lead a team in 1984, when he took over at Hamlin High, another map dot about 40 miles northwest of Abilene. Briles had the Pied Pipers humming with a ground-based veer offense he learned playing receiver for Bill Yeoman at Houston. Hamlin won its first 13 games, but in the Class 2A quarterfinals the Pied Pipers met the Panhandle High Panthers. At the time Texas* rules did not allow for overtime in the playoffs: Ties went to the team that penetrated the opponent's 20-yard line more often. On the final play of the third quarter Hamlin and Panhandle were tied 7-7, and each team had been inside the other's 20 once. A Pied Pipers' punt pinned the Panthers on their own one. Then the fourth quarter from hell began.

Panhandle ran 26 plays, throwing only once. It slogged ahead and watched the clock tick. When the Panthers crossed Hamlin's 20, they celebrated as if they had rung up six points. "We had the ball for the whole quarter and never scored," says Chris Koetting, the former Panhandle wingback who scored the Panthers' lone touchdown that night. When the 12 minutes expired, Panhandle had the ball at the Hamlin 11. The Panthers advanced.

(In 1984, 47Straight was the president of the Panhandle Independent School District board of trustees.  I also had a kid on the field that night)

Briles immediately began searching for a way to ensure that his team would never be in that position again. Opponents wouldn't get to play keep-away; they'd have to score to keep pace. "As you get deeper in the playoffs, you're always going to come up against somebody that could be better than you, talentwise," Briles says. "So you need to have an advantage that gives you the opportunity to win that game."

Briles didn't scrap the Veer entirely. He made it the basis for a spread-based running attack, a one-back scheme with the quarterback in the shotgun. Inside the tackle box Briles would be old school. Outside, he'd be space age. Through moves to Georgetown High and Stephenville High, he kept tweaking. Early in his tenure at Stephenville, where he would win four Class 4A state titles, Briles positioned his receivers all the way outside the yard numbers, mere feet from the sideline-a move that spit in the face of conventional football wisdom. A receiver lined up that wide has no room to run an out pattern and no time to come back inside to crack down on a linebacker on a run play. That suited Briles, who wanted to create a glamour position that would encourage the best athletes at the school to come out for football. How do you persuade the star basketball player to strap on pads? Tell him all he has to do is run routes and catch the ball.

The formation forced the defense to declare its intentions before the snap, giving the offense a huge advantage. Cornerbacks had to be sent out wide to cover those receivers, or the D would get burned long. But with the corners marooned near the sideline, coverages and blitzes couldn't be disguised and the corners were too far afield to help on run plays.

This season the Bears split speedy Tevin Reese and Antwan Goodley, a 5'10" 225-pounder who is as thick as a linebacker but can outrun most cornerbacks, to the far sides of the field. Unless an opponent has an All-America safety who can rotate quickly and pick up Reese or Goodley, a defense has limited options. "You give up a lot of conventional football," Briles says of the ultra-wide receivers. "You give up a lot of...." He searches for the correct word before settling on "idology." Much like his offense, the word is an original. But in combining ideology and idolatry, Briles finds the perfect term.

When those Panhandle Panthers kept that ball for the entire fourth quarter, they had no idea what they had unleashed on the sport.

Koetting, the tiny sophomore wingback who scored Panhandle's lone touchdown that night, has grown into a brilliant high school coach in his own right. In his four seasons as head coach at Canadian High, a school in the Texas* Panhandle 100 miles from anywhere, Koetting has a 39-9 record. And what offense does he run? "We run the spread," he says. Just like Briles.
http://www.sportsillustratedeverywhere.com/issues/protected/com.timeinc.si.web.inapp.11112013/friday-night-lights-out-26549.html

Last edited on Thu Nov 7th, 2013 04:27 pm by 47Straight

SoonerRick46
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 Posted: Thu Nov 7th, 2013 05:11 pm

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Interesting.  I'm both excited and apprehensive to see how weel what Mike has cooked up in response works.

47Straight
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 Posted: Thu Nov 7th, 2013 05:43 pm

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SoonerRick46 wrote:  I'm both excited and apprehensive to see how weel what Mike has cooked up in response works.
I'm like you.  I see on twitter that more Baylor money keeps coming in.  It's up to 16 points in some off shore sites now.  I can't believe that this won't be a competitive game decided in the 4th quarter, probably by a break or two.
 

ClintA.Adams
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 Posted: Thu Nov 7th, 2013 07:43 pm

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Baylor hasn't had a bad game this season or any bad luck this season.  8 games in, it's time for them to have a bad day when it comes to turnovers and key players getting beaten up and the ball just not bouncing their way.  It's that time of the season for most of the rest of the undefeated to join the ranks of the defeated.  Just get through that first quarter alive and it will be one heck of a ball game.

pOUlon4747
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 Posted: Thu Nov 7th, 2013 08:11 pm

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I gotta believe with 1 1/2 weeks to prepare Mike has this defense tuned in to Baylor's offense. He has to have a few wrinkles that Baylor is not expecting.

This game is coming down these factors.

OU's Offensive line = This game will be won or lost in the trenches. The OU offensive line must be able to dominate Baylor's defense and grind on the clock. In my mind, the OU's offensive line will be our best defensive option against Baylor's offense.

OU's Overall Defense = We have a lot of talent up front but it is young. They must play disciplined and STOP the run. The secondary must be like Velcro on the receivers and when Baylor does make a catch there cannot be any YAC.

Bottom line... If we win in the trenches on both sides of the ball, I really like our chances. If that does not happen. This game is going to get out of hand fast.





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